After a string of revealing spy photos, the 2016 Toyota Prius and its brave new looks are officially out in public.
Toyota took the wraps off of the fourth-generation Prius Tuesday night at an event in Las Vegas. We know the 2016 Prius gets looks inspired by Toyota's Mirai fuel-cell sedan, but incorporates the traditional liftback shape that has defined the gas-electric hybrid since its second generation.
Big news comes from the fact this new Prius benefits from the first application of Toyota's New Global Architecture, their take on a modular basis for a raft of new models. The company says the new platform allows a lower center of gravity, stronger passenger compartment and a new double-wishbone rear suspension. The 2016 Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the old car, but Toyota also insists this one is actually fun to drive.
The front of the Prius sticks to the familiar Toyota traits, but is dominated by newly standard LED headlights and a sharper front spoiler that makes it a little more edgy than the old model. Toyota claims the badge on the front of the Prius is the same height as the one on the Scion FR-S/Toyota GT 86 sports coupe, so it's all very… sporty.
But in addition to this promise of fun, Toyota has kept up with the Prius' mission of efficiency, claiming a 10 percent gain in MPG on "core models," according to the press release. If the outgoing model's 50 MPG EPA rating is anything to go by, expect a 55 MPG rating on the new one. There will also be a new Eco model that Toyota says is to be unveiled down the road, with, "an even greater improvement" in fuel efficiency.
Toyota also says it's boosting the safety roster on the 2016 Prius with the introduction of Toyota Safety Sense, a suite of driver assistance electronics such as pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and prevention and adaptive cruise control (what will the Honda Sensing people say?). The Prius, thanks to the new platform architecture, is the first of the company's models to benefit from this safety tech package that Toyota says will spread throughout most of its lineup by the end of 2017.
And what about that sharp new red paint? Toyota calls it "Hypersonic Red." This is what you get when you ask Toyota to hot up the Prius.
We should know more about the Prius at upcoming auto shows such as the Frankfurt Motor Show next week and the LA Auto Show in November. Expect to start seeing the 2016 Prius on sale in at least some markets around the start of 2016.